Working family carers in Portugal: between the duty and the burden of caring for old vulnerable people.
Fonseca AM., Gonçalves DC., Pereira SM.
This paper intends to reflect on some of the predominant traits of caring for older vulnerable people in Portugal, where the most common care model is a mix of informal home-based provision and support from the public and private sectors. We shall address some issues concerning the risks and limits of informal caretaking of older dependent people based on a case study of a woman who has to fulfil multiple roles, pushing her to the limit of her ability to cope. Evidence indicates that solutions to the challenges of caring for an ageing population, especially those in a vulnerable condition, require a consideration of material, social, cultural, and psychological measures. On the basis of the nature of the links between these areas, the quality of the care provided and the consequences for the working family carers, we can define standards of caring solutions for older people and hence derive policies for preventive and optimized interventions. Our final aim is to emphasize the importance of palliative care settings to improve the quality of life and minimize the suffering of both older people and their carers.